The car of the Metaverse can’t be in the mini world

Sandbox game + virtual idol concert, roll for the sake of volume?

There are as many sandbox games as the Metaverse is.

Recently, a virtual idol and a musician held a virtual concert in a mini-world game.

Entering the concert scene from the game hall, a group of 50 players are “trapped” by the air wall on the platform in the middle. The blue and purple squares around the platform undulate like piano keys following the rhythm of music, and Hua Xiaolou And a virtual square figure of a musician standing on the two peripheral platforms, repeating several actions mechanically, and there is a gap between the platform where the player is on, and the only things players can do are chat, dance and wave their hands. Light stick.

This concert, held in cooperation with QQ Music, set a good example for it to further open the door of the music universe. With the help of the east wind of the Metaverse, virtual music idols once again become the focus of capital storytelling. What is curious is how high is the trial and error cost of virtual idols?

In December 2021, the originator of the virtual anchor “Kizuna Ai” released a retiring video five years after his debut, saying “I am no longer special”. From Luo Tianyi who appeared on the TV Spring Festival Gala to the virtual spokesperson of Huaxizi, the virtual anchor Liu Yexi that appeared recently is “light speed popular”. In less than a month of “debut”, he has gained millions of fans, related entries #当元宇宙遇美�? Once ranked second on the Douyin Hot List, this is a new trend spawned by the concept of Metaverse. The original virtual idol Hatsune Miku may not be able to imagine it. The former niche culture has now gradually entered For the masses, the road that was once a little lonely also began to become crowded.

As the mini world that is one of the representatives of sandbox games, what is the intention of creating a virtual music icon this time? With the explosion of the Metaverse, the Metaverse business in the mini world is only an IP business?

01Have an immersive concert in the virtual world

With the rise of the Metaverse concept, virtual concerts have become one of the forms of “walking into” the Metaverse. As early as the May 2021 update, the mini-world paved the way for the evolution into a “mini-universe”. It seems that this concert It is also starting from a virtual concert to explore the path of “Music Meta-Universe”.

Perhaps in order to take care of the minor players, the time of this event is specially set for December 10th-12th, that is, 20: 00-21: 00 in the evening on Fridays and weekends. Entering the studio from the game hall, the first thing you see is the pixel-style national style cyber building, with brilliant lights on the stage, constantly changing with the songs, just like a traditional concert stage style.

The car of the Metaverse can't be in the mini world

Game players can leave this scene if they choose to return to the city, and follow different music to enter the courtyard, towers, Jiangnan town, desert, space and other scenes. It is similar to the concert of “Fortress Night”, and the player can be free in it. Activities, but unable to interact with the scene, the image of the square figure of Hua Xiaolou and the cooperating musicians is still in it, but it is also just repeating the set actions.

In contrast, virtual concerts on other platforms in the past may make the audience more “immersive.”

The bursting sound effects are combined with gorgeous special effects. All kinds of virtual characters dance in a flurry of demons under the control of the players. This is an electronic music concert organized by the famous American rapper Travis Scott and “Fortnite” in April 2020. Over 12.3 million players participated. The image of the singer is a huge virtual person, constantly dancing to the rhythm of the music, full of dynamics. At the same time, in order to match the concert effect, the map environment in the game also changes with the music, travels to the future, and then dives into the bottom of the sea, providing players with a An immersive concert that spans time and space.

On November 19, 2021, the famous singer Justin Bieber also held a virtual concert through the virtual music platform Wave and sang his latest album. With the help of a virtual platform, the environment of this concert is extraordinarily gorgeous. The combination of golden wheat field and sunlight can further highlight the connotation of the song. The gifts presented by the audience are presented in the screen with flowers of different colors. This is a traditional offline concert. Picture effects that are difficult to achieve. Justin himself also achieved synchronized performances between himself and the avatar by relying on motion capture technology.

The car of the Metaverse can't be in the mini world

The mini-world concert is more like an online concert in the game. Compared with the virtual concerts held on other platforms, the interaction is slightly worse.

In the past two years, the market for virtual idols has continued to expand. According to iiMedia Consulting’s data, it is expected that China’s core virtual idol market will exceed 6 billion yuan in 2021, and the market growth rate will continue to accelerate. A well-known virtual idol with a lot of popularity among singers, the addition of the mini world is not unexpected.

Before that, Hua Xiaolou, a virtual character in the Mini World, was already a relatively mature IP. Accounts were opened on Douyin, Kuaishou, Station B and other platforms, and many original songs were released. The total number of fans on the entire network exceeded 10 million. Focusing on Huaxiaolou, Mini World has also created a series of virtual character IPs, developed a series of peripheral products, including blind boxes, hand-runs, cultural and creative, etc., and even launched cultural products such as radio dramas and animations in an attempt to create their own worldview , Let the mini world “evolve” into a mini universe.

02How good is the business of “Hua Xiaolou”?

For the Mini World, the main purpose of the “Huaxiaolou” business may not be profit.

The Mini World’s setting for Hua Xiaolou is an idol singer. In addition to Chaowan surroundings, she also released many singles and singing and dancing videos according to the personal settings, which also appeared in live broadcasts many times. When the avatar “moves” and appears in the camera, the capital investment required cannot be underestimated.

Take Liu Yexi in the recent fire as an example. She is defined as a 2.5-dimensional character, wandering between the virtual and the real, and there is no sense of conflict with the real actors in the video. But this sense of realism comes from the operation team behind it with more than 100 people, most of which are elites from the film industry. After nearly four years of precipitation in the early stage, the overall investment in the project exceeds one million.

The car of the Metaverse can't be in the mini world

As a two-dimensional image of Hua Xiaolou, although the cost will be greatly reduced, the degree of exquisiteness is slightly insufficient. In its video comment area, many netizens questioned that the modeling of Hua Xiaolou is very similar to other virtual anchors.

From the perspective of monetization channels, even after a long-term incubation, virtual idols with a certain fan base have limited monetization channels, mainly live broadcast rewards and sales of peripheral products, and most of the profitable ones are those with a certain degree of popularity in the early stage. The accumulated avatar image.

According to Chen Jian, CEO of the virtual digital human company Creative Technology, live broadcast generally accounts for 90% or even 100% of domestic Vtuber’s revenue. However, due to the live broadcast platform, the sharing of people in the middle, team operating expenses, technical production costs, etc., anchors with tens of thousands of streams a month can barely maintain balance.

When the Mini World was born, Hua Xiaolou existed in the game as an introductory NPC. A large number of players have a certain degree of goodwill for it and have a good fan base. At the same time, the Mini World once launched Hua Xiaolou as the protagonist. After three related animations, Hua Xiaolou quickly gained attention after he officially became a virtual idol.

As a virtual idol capable of hosting performances, it has undoubtedly stood at the top of the pyramid, but the virtual idol’s concerts may not be easy to achieve profitability. In June 2017, the virtual idol Luo Tianyi held his first offline concert in Shanghai. The concert that relied on photoelectric technology was enthusiastically sought after by fans. 500 infield tickets were sold out within 3 minutes, and the ticket rush was fierce. No less than a real star. It is reported that the cost of an offline concert by Luo Tianyi is about 20 million yuan, and his management team said that the concert did not recover all the costs.

But in the game, this cost is undoubtedly greatly reduced, but the lack of tickets means that profit needs to find another way. Taking the “Fortress Night” concert as an example, a series of concert-related peripheral products will be put on the shelves after the event, including trendy clothing, model toys, and joint albums.

However, the business of virtual idols also has certain risks, especially the relationship between “in the middle” and virtual idols. Once there is a problem, the IP of the virtual idol may be affected to some extent.

On December 4, 2021, the virtual anchor “originator” Kizuna Ai announced that it will stop activities indefinitely after the 2022 concert. The reason for this is not only “I am no longer special” proposed by Kizuna Ai, it may also be quite a lot. As Kizuna fans believe, it has something to do with the avatar incident that year.

The car of the Metaverse can't be in the mini world

In 2019, the operator of Kizunai started the “Four Kizunai” project due to a dispute arising from the first generation of “Men of Zhongzhi” Kasugai, turning Zhongzhi into a team of 4 people. This project was strongly resisted by fans. Kizuna Ai’s rapid growth in followers since its birth also came to an abrupt end. It was not until the abolition of this plan that her popularity gradually picked up, but at this time Kizuna Ai has missed 2019. The fast-growing shuttle bus for virtual anchors.

However, we still cannot deny that virtual idols are indeed a good business. In addition to profitability, the more important role for the mini world is probably to expand its influence.

Since the appearance of Huaxiaolou’s IP, it has formed an indissoluble bond with Guofeng. It has appeared many times in Guofeng programs jointly launched by Mini World and other platforms. This concert has also cooperated with Guofeng singers again, perhaps I hope to attract more young players by relying on the national style, and break my long-term “younger” image.

In fact, since the birth of the Mini World, it has been accused of plagiarizing Minecraft (ie MC). Many MC players have spontaneously analyzed and compared the two games and presented evidence of plagiarism in the Mini World. The lawsuit made its plagiarism more firmly nailed down, and because of this, the reputation of Mini World has been poor. This is especially reflected in the B site that pays extra attention to copyright.

Judging from the number of fans of Huaxiaolou, the number of fans on Douyin and Kuaishou both exceeded 4 million, while the number of fans at station B was even less than 6,000. In the video comment area of ​​Huaxiaolou, the atmosphere is quite different from other mini-world related videos. There is no great malice. On the contrary, many netizens send out emotions like “It looks good, it is the wrong game.”

The car of the Metaverse can't be in the mini world

Comparison of the content in the comment section of Huaxiaolou related videos and Mini World related videos

In the future, the influence of Huaxiaolou will be further expanded, which may help the Mini World to restore part of its image and attract more new players.

03The mini world is hard to become a Metaverse

From the virtual concert to the Metaverse, there is more than one step or two. The dream of the mini-world “Music Metaverse” may be just a slogan.

At present, a large number of players are eagerly watching Metaverse, especially sandbox games. Players have a very high degree of freedom, and the game can provide a lot of creative space, which is naturally compatible with the concept of Metaverse. But in this category alone, there are world-renowned games such as Roblox and Minecraft, and Mini World is not very competitive among them.

From the content point of view, Mini World has a large number of core elements from other games. According to the lawsuit with NetEase at the end of 2020, nearly 300 core elements of Mini World involve infringement. But judging from the current game content, it seems that Mini World did not delete the 267 core elements in the game in accordance with the results of the judgment, but only modified these elements on the original basis to make the screen more Q version.

The car of the Metaverse can't be in the mini world

This can’t help but make people wonder about the technical capabilities of the Mini World. Whether the future Mini World can rely on its own original technology to provide a platform that can realize the concept of the Metaverse requires a big question mark.

In addition, the profitability of the mini-world is also worrying. Its player group is more inclined to the younger age. According to statistics, adult players only account for 9%. However, the payment ability of younger players may not be strong, such as the future of “Moore Manor”. The proportion of adult recharge amount is only 0.14%, and Tencent disclosed in its financial report that the contribution of minor players to game revenue is only 3.2%. From this point of view, the profitability of Mini World may be weaker.

At the same time, the Mini World itself is the label of “low threshold”, and the low requirements for equipment can indeed attract more players. According to third-party platform data, the monthly activity of the Mini World in May 2021 will reach 50 million, and three There is no relevant data on how much the new anti-addiction regulations that landed after the month have had an impact on the “prosperity” of the mini world.

However, Zheng Lei, head of Tencent’s minor protection system and general manager of the user platform department, said that according to data disclosed by Tencent in the third quarter, the proportion of domestic minors’ game turnover dropped to 1.1%, a decrease of 3.7 compared to 4.8% in the same period last year. %, maybe we can see from it, the impact of the new anti-addiction regulations on the underage player community is great.

The low requirements for equipment also mean that the gaming experience should not be too demanding. Take “Minecraft” as an example. There are tens of thousands of MODs (game enhancement programs that can add and modify in-game props, environments, etc.) that the game can carry. The game’s texture packs are even more diverse. Players joked that the upper limit of MC’s game image quality is determined by the computer configuration, and the upper limit of game content is determined by the player. There are only two texture packs for the Mini World, and the Q version’s graphic style seems destined to be a relatively young game.

From house construction to infrastructure models, sandbox games allow players to have unlimited imagination. In 2020, affected by the epidemic, many schools around the world have decided to hold graduation ceremonies in MC games. In June 2020, Zhejiang University also A graduation party was held through games to draw a successful conclusion to the college life of the 2020 class of students.

The car of the Metaverse can't be in the mini world

The graduation ceremony held by the School of Animation and Digital of Communication University of China in MC Games

In the sandbox game, we have a glimpse of the prototype of the Metaverse. The next step of the mini-world will probably be like MC, becoming a platform for players to provide virtual scenes. However, due to the limitations of technology and hardware facilities, the current mini-world may It is more reliable to do an IP business steadily.

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